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Election 2020 Updates: Races To Watch In New York

NY-2 candidates Jackie Gordon and Andrew Garbarino
Courtesy of Jackie Gordon campaign and N.Y. State Assembly
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NY-2 candidates Jackie Gordon and Andrew Garbarino

Joe Biden is heavily favored to win New York in the presidential contest, but is also home to competitive races on the local and congressional level — particularly on Long Island. There are no U.S. Senate races in New York during this election cycle.

Both NY-1, where Republican Lee Zeldin is defending his seat against Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff, and NY-2, where Democrat Jackie Gordon and Republican Andrew Garbarino are vying for the seat vacated by the retirement of Republican Peter King, are considered extremely competitive races.

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Other Long Island races feature Democratic incumbents, and are not expected to be competitive. In NY-3, incumbent Thomas Suozzi faces Republican George Santos. In NY-4, incumbent Kathleen Rice is defending her seat against Republican Douglas Tuman.

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New York state law does not allow for absentee ballots to be counted until Friday, Nov. 6, and ballots will be accepted until Nov. 10, so it may take some time to learn the winners of these races.

Competitive state races

Democrats in the New York State Senate are two seats away from a supermajority. Republicans say there are vulnerable seats on Long Island that were long held by the GOP before flipping blue in 2018.

Democrats hold 40 seats in the 63 member Senate chamber. Republicans had control over the Senate for a century before Democrats took over in 2018. If Democrats can win just two more seats in November, they would gain the veto proof majority.

Retiring Republicans

Republicans currently hold just 20 seats. Ten veteran GOP Senators decided not to seek reelection, rather than continue to be in the chamber’s minority party, including former Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan.

Republican Mario Mattera will face Democrat Michael Siderakis for Flanagan’s Smithtown seat.

Republican Anthony Palumbo will challenge Democrat Laura Ahearn for retiring Republican state Senator Ken LaValle’s seat on eastern Long Island.

State Senator Phil Boyle, the only Republican incumbent running this year on Long Island, is facing a challenge from Democrat Christine Pelligrino in Bay Shore.

Challenging freshman Democrats

Advocacy groups from outside New York and police unions are spending big money to oust and support freshman Democrats on Long Island. That’s after the state approved measures that eliminated cash bail in New York — with a few hiccups that Republicans say allowed dangerous criminals to walk free. New York also passed in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police accountability measures that made police disciplinary records public.

Democratic state Senator Kevin Thomas faces a challenge from Republican Dennis Dunne in a Nassau County seat that was long held by Republicans.

Democratic state Senator Jim Gaughran will face Republican Edmund Smyth for the Northport seat.

Assembly changeup

Democrats in the state Assembly already have a veto proof, supermajority. Republicans hope to close the ranks with vulnerable open seats on Long Island.

Republican Jodi Gilgo challenges Democrat Laura Jens-Smith for Palumbo’s old seat on Long Island’s North Fork.

Republican Jarett Gandolfo faces Democrat Francis Denco for a seat along the Great South Bay.

Republican Keith Brown versus Democrat Michael Marcantonio for the Northport-Dix HIlls seat.